So, where are the super SuperBowl ads?
Considering the political/cultural landscape in which this event was taking place, brands filling the advertising space in the SuperBowl could have gone in either two directions: “join the debate” or “entertain me, please”. What an incredible opportunity to be disruptive and get that all-desired cut-through just by having a point-of-view on either end of the spectrum, with an idea and an interesting story to tell. Sounds pretty simple, right? And yet somehow the majority of the fifty something advertisers in the running seem to have failed the task.
There was a very shy, albeit very on-brand #weaccept narrative from AirBnb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qUTYHnLz2g, and a decently shot mildly engaging film from 84 Lumber, who painfully ask you to “continue the journey online” and by that completely lose their audience and momentum on what could have been the most provocative ad in the bunch (“entire journey” here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPo2B-vjZ28). Apart from that, not much on the ‘let’s front Trump’ front.
On the other side, a star-studded collection of underwhelming ads that disappoint on their lack of insight or, as a consequence, an idea. Safe for Kia’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u6M18M3D0s, Bud Light’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYeXldMEpV8 and Squarespace’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWaRUUqQ1zA. I wish there were more Planners involved in making these ads, and less celebrities.
At the end of the day, the “entertain me, please” part was left for the queen of entertainment to play, naturally. Here you can watch Lady Gaga’s full Halftime Show performance which, even if you don’t like Lady Gaga, should be applauded just for her breathtaking stamina that somehow allows her to put on that kind of show, with no breaks, without having to catch her breath https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txXwg712zw4&t=664s.
Ironically, this performance is interrupted three times by ads on Youtube, in the most annoying manner I have ever experienced this since it has become okay for brands to stand in the way of people having a good time.
All in all, it seems to me that ads are back to disrupting purely for the sake of interruption. I for one miss the days of insight, ideas and those legendary Tom Kuntz films that made us all strive to do great work.